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New lines in a downturn? You bet...

Tak Koutsoumanis, distribution manager, Northern Europe at AVX, is pictured (l to r) with Anglia’s business development manager Katie Pooley and product marketing manager Kerry Higham


By Richard Wilson - Electronics Weekly - on July 1, 2009

A market downturn is not the most obvious time for a distributor to take on the extra cost burden of new product lines.

Yet, Ismosys, RS, EBV and Digi-Key are amongst those distributors which looked at the figures coming out of the European market in the last couple of months and signed new lines to address specific markets. The largest number of signings have been made by Anglia which has added passive components supplier AVX and analogue chip firm Intersil to its linecard in the last eight weeks.

In May it also signed the energy device line of Maxwell Technology.

Steve Rawlins chief executive officer at Anglia has been working to get a major analogue chip line for five years and so the signing came at exactly the right time.

"This is a big signing for us, it will strengthen 32-bit micros and the rest of our silicon ranges," says Rawlins.

Rawlins sees the Intersil signing as a major coup for the Wisbech-based distributor. Traditionally the analogue supplier has relied on big players like EBV and Arrow.

But Anglia is not alone in taking on new franchises in a downturn. Ismosys has signed an agreement with Lineage Power to represent the US-based company's power conversion products in the UK and Ireland.

Digi-Key has also added a couple of power lines with industrial battery supplier EnerSys and Cymbet the supplier of solid-state, rechargeable thin-film batteries and energy harvesting power storage modules.

RS Components has secured what it called "first-to-market rights" for the introduction of specific motor controller and power supply products from Phoenix Contact.

Advanced Power Components has taken on AVX's high reliability capacitors including tantalums and ceramic capacitors.

EBV Elektronik is to distribute a range of LEDs from US-based supplier Luminus Devices in Europe.

Significantly all these deals are being signed off at the time when the European component market is bouncing along the bottom of a very deep hole.

But the message seems to be not to change your distribution business model in a downturn.

Even if that model requires you to add lines to go after potential sales opportunities in those markets which are likely to emerge from the downturn most quickly.

Namely these are identified as power control systems, renewable energy and LED lighting.

"You don't change direction in a downturn," says Rawlins.

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This news article was originally published in July 2009

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